My latest article for Pajamas Media is up. It’s about Ernie Banks, former Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player who is going to be honored by having a statue erected at Wrigley Field.
A sample appears below the picture.
It was the hands that drew your immediate attention. The huge 42 ounce bat being held perpendicular to the ground was motionless as was the rest of his lithe 6’ 1”, 180 lb frame. But the hands were busy. The way they nervously gripped and re-gripped the bat was mesmerizing, the fingers in constant motion. And then the pitch, and the graceful ripple of a swing, and the ball would take flight.
Few of Ernie Bank’s 512 home runs were Olympian blasts where the ball would arc so high and exit the yard out on to Waveland Avenue, scudding underneath the low clouds that would hang over Wrigley Field. Instead, the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer had a graceful swing that would produce a screaming line drive – a “frozen rope” ballplayers call it – that would leave the playing field almost before the pitcher could turn around in disgust to watch the flight of the ball.
And then, the trot around the bases, the long legs effortlessly stretching out, covering the distance to home plate with such ease and grace that tens of thousands of kids all over Chicagoland tried to imitate it. In suburban parks and city streets, youngsters could be seen gripping the bat the way he did, moving like he did. They wanted a baseball glove just like his. To possess his baseball card was to make the lucky kid a celebrity for blocks around.